Sitka to Petersburg – Part 1

June 14-15, 2016

Sitka, no fishing

June 16, 2016

At 0805 we cast off the lines and headed for Kalinin Bay, just 25 nautical miles away.  We were anchored by 1136.

June 17, 2016

Fished twice, once in the morning catching a 33 inch King Salmon and once in the afternoon with a 34 inch King Salmon.

June 18, 2016

Fished for Halibut, but only donated snacks to the fish.

June 19, 2016

Hoisting the anchor from the sticky mud in Kalinin Bay we departed for the final time in 2016 and headed back to Sitka for fuel and fresh produce before departing the Sitka area for the season.

Memorial Crosses in Olga Strait

The wrecked tug continues to rust away near Olga Strait
June 21, 2016

At 0740 we cast off the lines for the last time in Sitka and headed back through Sergius Narrows.  We headed up Hoonah Sound and anchored in Douglass Bay.  Prawn pots were set and we enjoyed a calm evening as the only boat in the bay.  An evening check of the pots provided our limit of prawns.

June 22, 2016

The morning pull of the prawn pots again gave us our daily limit of prawns.  After processing the prawns we pulled the anchor at 0820 and headed back down Hoonah Sound into Peril Strait and out into Chatham Strait.  Heading north we entered Tenakee Inlet and tied up at the transient float in Tenakee Springs at 1645 after a 62 nautical mile day.  Patrick immediately set out our two crab traps in Kadashan Bay.

A section of Tenakee Springs

Tenakee Springs Yard Art

Baranof guarding the Tenakee Liquor Store

Well stocked general store Tenakee Springs

June 23, 2016

The morning check of the crab pots gave us our limit of three each.  We cooked them and had crab that evening.  The wind came up in the late afternoon and the breakwater provides no protection from westerly winds.  Mooring lines were doubled up and the Grady White was moved to a protected slip.  The stern was towards the wind and waves and we had waves coming over the transom platform until the winds died after dark.

June 24, 2016

The crab pots in Kadashan Bay had our limits once again and after bringing the crabs back to the boat we went to “The Bakery” for breakfast.  We left Tenakee Springs at 1050 and headed for Hoonah.  Both Chatham Strait and Icy Strait were calm and by 1635 we were moored at the transient pier in Hoonah Harbor after a 45 nautical mile transit.  There is water on the pier, but no power.

Pod of Humpbacks,Basket Bay

The most whales we have seen all season
June 25, 2016

A Holland America cruise ship was at Icy Strait Point Cannery, so the area was open to all.  We caught a shuttle bus and rode the two miles from Hoonah Harbor to the cannery, which has a museum, shops and several restaurants, as well as a six cable 1330 foot elevation change zip line.  The entire place is well done and seemed to be well received by the cruise ship passengers.
Icy Strait Pont Cannery

Well laid out exhibits

Museum has some interesting old sewing machines

Salon processing equipment in the cannery, this cuts the fish into segments

This machine puts the salmon into the cans and puts the lids on
The top of the zip line was in the fog and rain, but the viewing area provided a good view of the final few hundred feet.  Returning to town we looked at the cedar dugout canoes being built by the Alaska Natives for a new longhouse dedication in August in Glacier Bay and then had halibut and chips at the “Chipperfish”.  The afternoon was spent changing the main engine oil at 3402 hours.   Walking back into town to the Hoonah Trading Company for a few supplies, we stopped at the Hoonah Brewing Company, which was under construction last year.  Now open, they brew several craft beers and have a Thai food truck next door run by the owner’s wife to supply Thai snacks.  Dinner was a strange halibut pizza at the Icy Strait Lodge, which is about ¾ mile from the harbor.

Native dugout canoes under construction

Eagle surveying Hoonah Harbor

Native Graveyard on Pitt Island, Hoonah

June 26, 2016

We decided to investigate Neka Bay and left the harbor at 0900 for the short 8 nautical mile trip down Port Frederick.  The bay was full of commercial crab pots leaving little room to anchor.  Patrick tried to fish from the Grady White, but had to return an undersized ling cod before returning to Spirit as the rain and wind returned.  The wind finally calmed and we spent a peaceful evening at anchor with one other boat about ½ mile away.

Chimney Rock at Neka Bay
June 27, 2016

Even with the calm night, we did not sleep well for some reason and departed early, at 0635 under cloudy skies and calm winds.  As we retraced our path down Icy Strait to Chatham Strait the skies cleared and we had an uneventful trip into Pavlof Bay, a new stop for us.  Anchoring deep in the bay in 45 feet of water behind “Abysinnia”, a small cruise ship, we readied the Grady White for fishing. 
Putting poles out from the stern of Spirit netted us two large Quillback Rockfish, great for fish tacos.  Initially the winds and seas were a little choppy for the Grady White in Chatham, so after waiting for high slack tide, Patrick returned to North Passage Point and returned with a 40 inch, 30 pound halibut, caught on salmon trolling gear.  Since Patrick was alone, he gaffed the fish and flung it into the bow of the tender and bled it quickly before returning to Spirit.  After a dinner of Pork Chops and stuffing we cleaned the fish and now have nearly full freezers.  By 10:30 PM there were seven boats anchored in Pavlof Bay.

June 28, 2016

By the time we got up, most of the vessels had already departed.  We left shortly before 0900.  As we departed we remarked on the red/brown sand beaches from iron in the soil and wished we had investigated the waterfall, which seemed to be an attraction for the guests on the Wilderness Explorer which was anchored about 2 miles further up Freshwater Bay.

Waterfall in Pavlof Harbor

Brown/Red sand beaches in Pavlof Harbor
Chatham Strait was calm and nearly deserted as we headed south for Takatz Bay.  Unlike the day before we did not even see any whales or porpoises.

In my minds eye

I can see how it’s supposed to go in my minds eye. You spend years looking at technical drawings, photo’s of how others have done it etc. But until it’s your turn to actually do it everything you think you knew all seems to fade away into the ether! *s…


The crew has been very busy getting their new home ready. In fact, too busy to take more than a few pictures. There has been moving and unpacking and cleaning and exploring.There’s been learning where the water and all important food dishes are, where …

Sitka to Juneau – Part 1

Besides all of its other attractions, an additional plus to being in Sitka during June is the Sitka Music Festival. It is a month long classical chamber music event in which visiting musicians give symposia and concerts. While we were there we attended two outstanding evening events. In future years, we’ll try to include more events in our schedule.

We were also able to catch up with other cruisers who own boats from the same builder as ours. At various times Luck Dragon (Edward and Carlene Forcier), Shearwater (David Cohn) and Seaducktress (Peter and Glenda Geerlofs) were in Sitka while we were there.

After three days in town, on Thursday, June 16, we left Sitka heading towards Juneau. Based on a suggestion from Peter Geerlofs (Seaducktress), we made a reservation in downtown Juneau at the Intermediate Vessel Float (IVF) for the nights of June 29 and 30. The most direct route to Juneau is 162 miles which we could comfortably cover in 3 days. Since we had 13 days, we intended to take a more circuitous route and take shorter hops.

The first night was back Kalinin Bay, with the thought of perhaps fishing outside its entrance. Based on recent experience, Marcia decided to forgo the opportunity.

For the second night, it was back to Douglass Bay but not before dropping prawn pots nearby. The next morning, we harvested a sufficient number of prawns for a meal or two.

From there, it was onto Rodman Bay, a new anchorage for us, where we again dropped prawn pots on the way in. Alas, when we brought them up the next morning, they had just a few tiny striped prawns which we threw back.

On Sunday, June 19, we anchored in Point Moses Cove, in Hanus Bay. We arrived early enough that we had time to drop the kayaks and paddle over to the trail head for the Lake Eva. The US Forest Service has a well-maintained trail from the beach landing to Lake Eva, a 3+ mile round trip. It was wonderful hike paralleling the stream draining Lake Eva. We saw no bears only some relatively fresh scat. Based on the number eagles in the trees along the drainage, we’re confident that when the salmon return the bears and eagles will be eating well. After the hike, we paddled into the lagoon that separates the fresh water Lake Eva drainage and the salt water Hanus Bay. Both the hike and paddle were wonderful (the sunny weather helped as well).

The next morning, we headed south into Chatham Strait heading towards either Ell Cove or Takatz Bay. The winds began to pick up to 20-25 knots and soon we were pounding into short-period steep-sided waves. We were fighting both wind and current so our pace was a glacial 5+ knots. The motion was all pitching and not rolling so it wasn’t too uncomfortable for us but the cats thought otherwise and both threw up. Ultimately, we went to Ell Cove because it was about 5 miles closer which meant an hour less pounding, a unanimously approved decision.

The morning of Tuesday, June 21 was the opposite of the day before, winds were calm and the seas glassy. As we continued south along Chatham Strait, the low marine clouds dropped and became thick fog. Fortunately, between radar and AIS tracking, we felt comfortable traveling, although we remained alert for logs and debris in the water. Along the way, we passed going north the Nordhavn 46 Penguin owned by Doug and Cathlyn MacQuarrie who are members of our yacht club, Queen City.

Our destination for the night was Gut Bay on the east shore of Baranof Island. This was a new to us anchorage. We had heard it was a lovely setting but the electronic charting either erratic or poor. The fog had lifted before we entered so we were able to safely enter and enjoy the stunning views of steep cliffs dropping into the narrow bay. It is a deep bay and anchorages are few. We approached the recommended anchorage at the head of the bay and to the right of a stream carefully, looking for any shoaling ahead. We dropped anchor about 125 yards from shore in 50 feet of water (zero tide). The winds were light overnight and we did not move substantially overnight.

Covered Bridges

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Take the road less traveled.”

Pennsylvania is one of the leading states with the remaining number of covered bridges and Columbia County, where Kyle now lives, is home to the states third largest concentration of covered bridges (23). Once there were 14,000 wooden covered bridges in the United States, today there are less than 900. Time and technology has taken its toll on the bridges. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Vermont have a combined total of 550 authentic covered bridges with Pennsylvania leading with 198. Many of these bridges are over 150 years old.

2016-17 A Counterclockwise Circumnavigation of Chigagof Island

Tuesday, June 14, 2016: The Boat People as CrewOver the years the Wild Blue has hosted many a crew, most of whom seldom if ever get on the water. They’ve learned while crewing and do excellent work for little or no boating experience. On the flip side,…


After leaving Cape Lookout, North Carolina, we ran for three nights to Massachusetts and stopped overnight at Plymouth so that we could enter Boston Harbor the following morning. As with Cape Lookout, we chose Plymouth mainly because it was a convenient and easy place to anchor without taking us too far off our route. But…

Little fabrication

Pretty warm in the boat shed today, thermometer was approaching 40 C which is waaaay to warm for this fat ole’ bastard! I was drenched inside of 5 mins!Managed to fabricate a new bulkhead or whatever you want to call it to support the prop shaft tube. …


New intercom phone to replace the nasty old nicotine stained one. Nothing has changed in the design and construction!! 

Life’s little difficulties

Sometimes life just has it’s moments that seem to get in the way of a boat building session. Yesterday I was off and running for the UPS store to pick up my new motor mounts. Almost about to cross the border when the oil pressure in the ole’ IROC goes …